EP8122 - Material Flow Analysis, Resources and Recycling, PhD


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Oral examination
Grade: Passed/Failed

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
Oral examination 100/100 45 minutes

Course content

The course provides an introduction into the analysis, evaluation, and design of the anthropogenic metabolism on various scales (companies, cities, countries, world). The students will learn how to use MFA in order to anticipate changes in resource demand and emissions, to interpret these changes in terms of consequences for the environment, resource security, employment, or geopolitical conditions, and to identify opportunities for changing the system in a desired direction. The methodological elements of the course include: i) terminology, system definition, and indicator selection; ii) mathematical representation of systems; iii) mathematical representation of uncertainty, sensitivity analysis, and data reconciliation; iv) dynamic modeling; v) introduction to and application of various software for MFA modeling. The methodology lectures are supplemented by background lectures, which include practical examples of MFAs. In the exercises, the students will employ the tools and methodologies in practical examples related to the main human activities (to nourish, to clean, to transport and communicate, to reside and work). The lectures will contain interactive elements with short discussions.

Learning outcome

- the students have acquired the necessary conceptual frameworks and practical skills
- to explain the role of key substances and materials in today’s societal metabolism and their potential interactions with the environment.

- to define MFA systems that are adequate to reflect on practical problems and potential solutions (including potential side effects);
- to identify key drivers of MFA systems, and to describe a system as a mathematical model in order to test the impact of data uncertainties and to develop simple scenarios (forecasting, backcasting, analyzing implications of possible interventions);
- to point out and reflect on strengths, limitations, and specific areas of application of different MFAs (including other industrial ecology tools that build on them).

General competence;
- to interpret the results in terms of their policy implications (e.g., judge the effectiveness of different interventions).

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and exercises. The course will be taught in English. If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may be changed from written to oral. The course is linked to the Masters course TEP4285. To pass the course a score of at least 70 percent is required.

Compulsory assignments

  • Work

Specific conditions

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Required previous knowledge

No previous knowledge required.

Course materials

The course material includes:
- Practical Handbook of Material Flow Analysis (Brunner & Rechberger, 2004)
- Scientific articles and reports related to the topics analyzed


Examination arrangement: Oral examination

Term Statuskode Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Room *
Autumn ORD Oral examination 100/100 2015-11-30 09:00
Spring ORD Oral examination 100/100 2016-05-24
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date.
If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.